They say it's always better to give than to receive. While that may be true for the most part, it doesn't always apply to gratitude.
But what about you? Who claps for you at the end of the day for a job well done? You can't always rely on others to offer you gratitude, especially when it relates to your work. And if you do get feedback from others, it may not be what you need to ensure you are headed in the right direction.
This is why you should adopt a practice of self-gratitude on a regular basis. This is about you celebrating your accomplishments each day, no matter how small, to keep you motivated and feeling like you are making progress against goals you set for yourself.
It is often times easier to give praise and gratitude to others than ourselves. Dr. Kristin Neff, author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, has written that many people are worried about feeling vain or narcissistic. But acknowledging your own accomplishments doesn't have to feel that way because you don't have to express it out loud or share it with others. It can be a personal and private practice you do at the end of each workday.
You don't need to devote much time or effort either. A daily or regular practice is enough to remind yourself that you are doing a great job and to keep going. Here are five ways that I've used to cultivate self-gratitude in both my career and when running my own business.
1. Create a gratitude statement.
Remind yourself why you enjoy what you do. Write it down place it where you can see it every day. For instance, "I'm grateful I get to do _______ by helping others achieve _________."
I use this as a yoga studio owner. Customers don't always realize all the work that goes into running a business behind the scenes. When dealing with unhappy customers, I try not to take what they say personally. Instead, I flip to my gratitude statement to remind me how I am thankful that I created a yoga studio for people who need it.
2. Set an intention and do it.
After working out in the morning and getting ready for work, I sit down with a cup of tea and give myself 15 minutes to mentally prepare for the day and write my one to three tasks I absolutely want to accomplish by day's end. It's amazing how many times I accomplish what I write down, as compared to when I don't do this exercise.
3. Use daily mantras.
Inspirational mantras are everywhere--social media, websites, podcasts, and apps. Many times, I use favorite mantras to pick me up during tough times.
For instance, if sales calls haven't been closing as I may like, I pen a relevant mantra on a Post-it note, like "Today is going to be the day," and stick it on my computer. Every time it catches my eye, I get a small boost to stay positive and be ready to knock it out of the park.
4. Begin a gratitude journal.
Take time each day to acknowledge one to three good things you experienced that day and one to three successes every day. This gives you a detailed record you can then go back and review whenever you need a reminder of your accomplishments. The daily practice helps me keep my head up and cultivate a positive attitude, especially when times get tough in my career, or when running one of my businesses.
5. Pause and look back.
When my teams are heightened with stress and problems that need to be solved, I ask everyone to take a pause. We step back and review everything we have accomplished up to that point, no matter how small.
We get so busy and absorbed with a project that we often don't realize all we have completed, solved, and achieved together. Do the same on an individual level. When you feel stuck, pause and take stock in all the good work you have done.
Self-gratitude can build confidence and help you face any challenge when no else will. After all, no one knows you better than yourself, nor benefits as much as you do from being reminded of your own strengths and abilities. It helps motivate you to keep going in your business and take on the next challenge.